Girton College JCR has three of its members on Unreserved College Council, under Statute II.4.c of the Girton College Statutes. College Council is the primary strategy making body of Girton College (more can be found under Governance). By convention, the JCR President is one of these members: under Ordinance II.2, the other two members are the Vice President and Treasurer. As members of College Council, students are also Trustees of Girton College.
By being on Council, the JCR has three representatives who are able to present student views, and even create policy. Each trustee has the same voting rights, whether a fellow, student, or even the Mistress. However, there are known issues with this Trusteeship. Firstly, student trustees are not able to know what has been passed through Reserved College Council: equivalent to the Unreserved, but minus any observers and student trustees. Reserved Council is normally used for highly sensitive matters, such as prizes for students and debts owed to the College.
Furthermore, as a Trustee, these three members are legally obligated to act “in the best interest” of the College, which can be a tension with their elected role to represent students: what may be unpopular could be financially prudent.
Several JCR members are also involved in College Committees, which either have delegated power from Council, or are allowed to submit papers to College Council. The full list of roles and Committees are listed in the Girton College Ordinances.
Legal status of Girton JCR
Structurally, Girton College JCR’s relationship with the College is not wholly clear. Nothing in the Statutes establishing the College or the attached Schedules and Ordinances actually establishes a JCR or MCR, but instead makes reference to the JCR and MCR as if they existed before. There is the possibility that the JCR was created in Council, but this will have to be found in minutes of the College, around the dissolution of the Student Representation Committee.
This has several practical implications. If the JCR is not part of the College, then it will have to register with the Charities Commission, increasing regulatory work. However, it may mean that the JCR has more independence. There is also the question of funding: Girton College JCR is funded by the College wholly.